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Appetite to invest in central London’s eating-out sector looks solid, research shows

Wingstop is among brands expanding in London (Wingstop)
Wingstop is among brands expanding in London (Wingstop)

Investor appetite to open new restaurants and bars in the capital is holding up as firms bet on consumer demand to eat-out remaining solid even as finances are squeezed, research suggests.

Property consultancy Colliers calculates that in the first quarter there were 106 requirements from the food and beverage sector to open sites in central London.

That was largely flat on a year earlier (105 requirements), but points to longer term confidence in an industry that is exposed to the cost of living crisis hitting demand, and high energy bills.

Companies that have recently expanded include Big Mamma, which launched Carlotta this month in Marylebone. Chicken chain Wingstop, which has branches in South Kensington and other London locations, was among those this year opening outside of the West End and City, welcoming customers in Beckton since April.

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Colliers‘ Alex Hubbard said: “ With international names such as Gaia and Socca opening in Mayfair, and Jacuzzi in Kensington, we don’t see any slowdown in the capital’s ability to attract the best concepts in the world.”

Total requirements for retail property in London have slipped to 283 from 311, with the food and beverage sector the most active occupier.

Other sectors seeking space include fashion, grocers and health and beauty. In total, all the requirements represent a demand for space across central London of around 1.6 million sq ft.

Looking at non-food deals, Erin McDonald in Colliers’ London retail team said: We’ve seen Apple commit to Knightsbridge, Sephora open in Westfield, and Gymshark on Regent Street. The standout trend of the past 18 months has been the commitments we have seen across the map of London – not just to the most centrally located streets as operators understand the nuances of each neighbourhood.”